In conjunction with the 100 Mile Vision Care Centre and Dr. Specs, the 100 Mile House Lions Club has sent more than 1,200 pairs of used eyeglasses to the Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre (CLERC) in Calgary, with another 200 pairs being sent next month.
“Sight has been one of the Lions Club’s major areas of concern since 1925, when Helen Keller addressed an international group of Lions and challenged them to be ‘Knights of the blind’,” says Ron Graves, secretary of the 100 Mile Lions Club, which has participated in the program for 20 years.
A preliminary sort is done in 100 Mile House before the glasses are sent to CLERC. From there they go to a minimum security institution, where trained inmates – under the supervision of a Lions Club member – determine the prescriptions of the glasses and then clean and pack them.
Teams of optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, and Lions take the glasses to different destinations, including Africa, India and South America, where they are matched with those who need them.
Another shipment of 200 pairs will go out in January.
Used eyeglasses are accepted all year round, and Graves urges those upgrading their glasses to donate their old ones.
“It’s amazing how many pairs come from our area. It takes time to sort them, but it’s worth it.”